The Vikings on Saturday signed running back Ameer Abdullah off the practice squad and waived tackle Blake Brandel
The team also elevated guard Dakota Dozier and cornerback Parry Nickerson off the practice squad to the active roster for Sunday’s game against Seattle at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook is listed as questionable for Sunday with an ankle injury. A source had said before the Vikings announced roster moves Saturday that they were considering elevating running back A.J. Rose Jr. off the practice squad, so perhaps it was a sign that Cook is expected to play when that move wasn’t made.
In addition to Cook, other running backs on the active roster are Alexander Mattison and now Abdullah. Abdullah started the season on the practice squad, was elevated for a Week 1 game at Cincinnati, was signed to the active roster on Sept. 18 and played against Arizona in Week 2, and then was released last Tuesday and signed to the practice squad.
With Brandel waived and Christian Darrisaw having been ruled out Friday due to a groin injury, the Vikings on Sunday won’t dress out any players with a listed position of tackle other than starters Brian O’Neill and Rashod Hill. However, starting guards Oli Udoh and Ezra Cleveland and Dozier all also can play tackle.
With Harrison Hand (hamstring) out, Vikings co-defensive coordinator Adam Zimmer was asked Thursday who the backup nickelback is behind Mackensie Alexander, and he declined to say. However, it should be noted that Nickerson has ample experience in playing the nickel.
With COVID-19 cases rising throughout the country, a half-dozen NFL teams are requiring fans who attend games to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test. The Vikings do not have similar requirements at U.S. Bank Stadium, but they are continuing to monitor the situation.
Teams that have put in fan restrictions include Las Vegas, New Orleans, Seattle, Buffalo and the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, who share a stadium. Those teams are following local health rules.
“We’ve considered any number of options throughout the offseason and we’ve done extensive prep work with ASM (Global), our stadium operator, with the league, with the other teams (with restrictions),’’ said chief operating officer Andrew Miller, whose Vikings play their regular-season home opener Sunday against Seattle.
“We’ve had people review the Las Vegas operations, we’ve been working with CLEAR (Health Pass), which is the Raiders partner, and we want to be prepared. We want to make sure that if we do end up in a situation where we are required to ask for vaccination status or have a negative COVID test that we have a system that’s ready to go.’’
The Vikings have been dealing with medical experts and government agencies, and Miller said that “as the COVID continues to evolve” they will continue to “follow the guideless of the city and the state.”
After having no fans at games last season due to the pandemic, the Vikings had two home preseason games last month with fans, although the stadium was only about half full. A full house is expected on Sunday.
Miller said the Vikings are continuing to encourage fans at games to wear masks, although there is no requirement in place. He said there is an air purification system that was in place at U.S. Bank Stadium before the pandemic that works well “as it relates to COVID.’’ And he said there has been a new feature added to the stadium this year to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.
“We’ve worked with 3M to use their (clear) protective film in some high-touch areas of the stadium,’’ Miller said. “That’s something that 3M has installed in different places within the stadium, and it’s protecting of those microbes.”